the Samsung 860 EVO pretty cements Samsung's dominance in that market segment

Highs

  • Excellent overall product
  • Checks all the boxes you want
  • The best SATA SSD we've looked at

Lows

  • There are cheaper GB/$ alternatives
  • SATA

Rating + Price

  • Rating: 9.0/10
  • Price: ~$129.99

SATA drives are still trendy, especially when extending SSD secondary storage since many computers come with (only) one NVME SSD boot drive. Purists and SSD nerds might frown at the idea of using SATA, a legacy disk IO protocol, but the reality is that it is often the only option for users with a single m.2 and no extra PCIe slots.

The Samsung 870 EVO takes over the 860 EVO’s market position and is likely to be just as successful. We have tested the 1TB model, but Samsung offers the following capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1,000GB, 2,000GB, 4,000GB.

The functionality is the same, but as the size increases, there are differences between different SKUs, mainly in the drive’s “Endurance,” expressed in Terabytes Written (TBW): data that can be written during the lifespan of the drive. The bigger the drive and the higher that number will be, by an additional 250TBW per 250GB of storage.

In this instance, the smallest 250GB SKU has a TBW of 150 TB (Terabytes), while the 4000GB one has a TBW of 1200 TB. TBW is a metric worth looking at because the warranty will usually say something like ‘x’ Years or ‘y’ TBW.

Usually, the average user does not have to be too concerned about this. I have some old SSD that are many years old, and they are still healthy despite being in use daily. That said, it is also possible to check the health of your drive using a Samsung app. More on that later.

Larger SKUs should also get a larger TurboWrite buffer, but I can’t quite confirm it without the 2TB or 4TB version on hand. Essentially, if you copy huge files (tens of GB), TurboWrite will significantly accelerate the write operations and keep things at near maximum speeds until the buffer fills up. After that, the rate will decrease.

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Performance

SSD manufacturers typically do an excellent job providing specifications that are on-point and easy to verify with benchmarks like CrystalDiskMark. Typically, the sequential read and write results will match the manufacturer specs. That’s the case here.

As expected, the disk’s SATA nature makes these sequential operations numbers much lower than NVME models. But in the real world, I’m much more interested in the random 4K numbers that are more representative of what’s going on when you use the disk: the OS will manipulate a bunch of relatively small files and blocks.

When it comes to Random 4K operations, this drive outperforms some NVME drives, so despite SATA’s substantially lower theoretical peak performance, the reality isn’t as bad as one may think. That’s because SSD drives rarely perform massive sequential operations but instead have to deal with a bunch of small files, like the Operating System.

The Samsung 870 EVO pushes SATA to the limit, and it’s hard to imagine how a potential 880 EVO SATA drive might perform. Today, the numbers we got from this drive are excellent (for a SATA drive) and most likely the best you can get today with this technology.

The PCMark 10 storage test shows a more realistic picture for most potential users. With a PCMark 10 “Quick System Drive Benchmark” score of 1492186.96MB/s (bandwidth) and 88µs (average access time), the Samsung 870 EVO performs a little bit better than the 870 QVO, because Samsung knows how to segment its product offering.

Beyond Performance

Speed aside, there are other factors to consider, like the AES-256 disk encryption, the 5-year warranty, or the software bundles.

I’m not sure how many people use AES-256 disk encryption, but if you’re worried about data theft (computer loss/theft, burglary), this or other forms of disk-encryption is an essential layer of protection.

Having on-disk hardware encryption will perform better than using software alternatives and be safer in some ways. Samsung isn’t the first OEM to offer hardware AES-256, but not all of them do.

The 5-year warranty is pretty generous, but as we said earlier, keep an eye on the TBW as well if you write a lot of data.

The Samsung Magician SSD is probably the best SSD software suite I’ve seen in general and definitely, the best one from an OEM.

With it, you can check your drive’s health status, the encryption settings, manage various performance optimization settings, and even securely wipe data. It’s great for power users, but regular folks are not obligated to install or use it.

Samsung also has a disk cloning utility called Samsung Data Migration Software for Consumer SSD. It’s a reliable tool that is free and very handy when you have to replace your C: drive and clone the OS. Obviously, one of the drives needs to be a Samsung for this to operate.

There are other alternatives on the market, but having a reliable and free option from the OEM is hugely convenient and is undoubtedly helping Samsung’s flash memory business.

Conclusion

The Samsung 870 EVO is an excellent SATA SSD Drive that displaces the Samsung 860 EVO and pretty much cements Samsung’s dominance in that segment until something better comes along.

We’d love to see more competition, but since Samsung controls the flash memory, controller, and software, it has the edge over many competitors.

"THE SAMSUNG 870 EVO IS AN EXCELLENT SATA SSD DRIVE"

If you want the best of what the 2.5-inch format and SATA interface offers, this is the product to get. People out there are also shopping for value, in which case some alternatives can be 10% to 20% cheaper but technically inferior in various aspects.

It’s true that the 870 EVO slightly outperforms the Samsung 870 QVO and Samsung 860 EVO but also comes with a price premium. The 1TB 870 EVO model currently sells for ~$129.99, while the 1TB 860 EVO is going for $108.48, a near 20% price differential. In any case, it’s hard to escape from Samsung’s gravitational pull.

Overall product rating: 9/10

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